Mayonnaise provides miracle treatment for endangered turtles caught in oil spill

Green sea turtles were affected by a devastating oil spill that has coated Israel’s coast with thick black tar

What’s the story?

Israel is currently battling one of the country’s ‘worst ecological disasters on record’, according to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

120 miles (195 kilometres) of the country’s Mediterranean coastline has been coated with sticky tar from a catastrophic oil spill, causing extensive damage to wildlife, including the endangered green sea turtle.

But employees at Israel’s National Sea Turtle Rescue Centre have found an unusual treatment to save the turtles.

According to Guy Ivgy, a medical assistant at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Michmoret, north of Tel Aviv, feeding the turtles substances like mayonnaise helps to clean their systems and break down the tar, allowing it to flush out of their digestive tracts.

Thousands of volunteers and clean-up crews have mobilised to remove tar from Israel’s beaches, a task that is expected to take months. Several volunteers have been taken to hospital after they inhaled toxic fumes.

Where did the spill come from?

The Israeli government, which is investigating the cause of the spill, said it received no prior warning before an estimated 1,000 tonnes of tar started washing up on shore, although it is believed the incident took place in early February.

An Israeli court has barred media from publishing any details about the investigation, including the name of the suspected ship, although a journalists’ association is petitioning to have the order lifted and environmental activists have accused authorities of being under the influence of oil companies.

Why is this positive news for the planet

Well, it’s not really.

Oil spills are always devastating for marine birds and mammals, as well as fish and shellfish.

But while we’d rather oil spills were a thing of the past (along with oil drilling), this discovery of mayonnaise as a miracle treatment could help other turtles in the future.

AP NewsSky NewsIndependent
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Charli Ferrand

Charli wrote her first novel at the tender age of 9, then dabbled in the idea of becoming a professional ballerina for a few years, before returning to her love of writing, acquiring a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Film & Broadcast from Cardiff University in the UK. A three-month holiday in Australia turned into a 11 year residency, during which Charli cemented her career in PR & Marketing Communications working with some of the biggest brands in the world. She also gained her citizenship, discovered her passion for sustainability and eventually ended up coming full circle, combining her professional skills with her love of the planet and oceans into her role as Editor-in-Chief of Earth Collective. A trained journalist, experienced communications professional and qualified Mental Health First Aider, Charli has her finger on the pulse of the latest political and environmental developments around the world. You can find her writing about current affairs, political activism and mental health.

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